Charnwood Grove of Druids

Based in the Charnwood Forest area of Leicestershire in the East Midlands

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We are a group of pagans from various traditions and backgrounds who meet together to celebrate the Pagan seasonal festivals, and develop our spiritual path together in community.

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Our focus is celebratory, and our rites, while encompassing many different approaches to spiritual expression, are conducted within the Druidic tradition. We seek inspiration from nature, and wisdom in the ever changing cycle of the seasons.

We hold eight rituals each year marking the Wheel of the Year, the details can be found on our “Rituals” page.

 

Who were the Druids?

The Druids are part of the history and legend of the British Isles and northern France. As the priestly caste of Iron Age Britain, they fascinated Julius Caesar, who wrote about them, and actually knew one, the tribal chief Divitacus. The Druids were priests, scholars, teachers, law-makers and peace-brokers, and were at the heart of insurrections against the roman oppressors. They practiced their faith outdoors in woodland groves. All nature was sacred, but the oak tree and mistletoe were especially so.

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As the Saxons and Vikings followed the Romans, and the English became a nation, the Druid tradition continued in the Celtic parts of these islands for many generations. Their songs, poems and stories were to be remembered in medieval times and became part of today’s rich folk tradition. Whilst the legacy of the incoming Romans, Saxons and Vikings help us to connect with the faiths of the people who have lived in the British Isles for well over 10,000 years, since the last ice-age came to an end, and we are intrigued by the beliefs of the people who settled here in the more distant past, the Druids have particularly captured our imaginations; they were the last bards, seers, shamans and wise folk of this land.

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In the 17th and 18th Centuries Britain became a “world power”, its prosperity fuelled by burgeoning trade and industrialisation. In reaction to this, public interest grew in our ancient monuments, our history, and the beauty of our countryside. In 1792, inspired by the druid tradition, a welsh migrant in London, called Edward Williams, changed his name to Iolo Morgannwg, and began holding Druid ceremonies on Primrose Hill in London. Druidry has been practiced in some shape or form ever since then and a great deal of the ritual devised over 200 years ago is still used by Druids today.

Who are the Druids?

For over a century, modern Druids have celebrated the solstices at Stonehenge, the greatest of all our prehistoric monuments. Nowadays these festivals are attended by thousands and are world-famous.

1907603_10207306214206939_8795138756461177967_n_smallDruidry today is part of modern Paganism, which was formalised in the 1950s and has since become one of the world’s fastest growing new spiritual traditions. Whilst most Druids would describe themselves as Pagans, Druids can include people identifying with any faith or none, and everyone, from whatever background, is welcome.  People drawn to Druidry may see it as a philosophical outlook, or a faith. What makes us Druids is our feeling of deep connection with this land and its old stories, the world, the universe, the turning of the seasons and the cycle of life. All feel inspired by the energy of living things, and the specialness of the places we live in. We honour the people who first came here long ago, our own ancestors, and those of all the people who live alongside us today.

 

Because we care about our world, Druids today often champion environmental causes and social justice, and we seek to make the world a better place through our actions.

Many Druids can and do tread their spiritual path in solitude, but others come together in communities, called Groves.  Our rituals, or rites, held outdoors and often in public places in daylight, are our most important activities. At these we mark the turn of the seasons though music, song, drama, sacred words, and friendship.  

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We are happy to welcome you if you would like to join us, and we enjoy sharing our rites with others, whether as participants or spectators.  However a person wishing to find out more about our tradition must be prepared to seek it out for themselves. Having said this, we always aim to be helpful companions for those on the same journey.